Unpublished Disposition, 921 F.2d 279 (9th Cir. 1990)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 921 F.2d 279 (9th Cir. 1990)

Norman L. DEHNHOFF, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.Tim BROWN, Lawrence Kincheloe, Warden, Mary E. Christensen,Defendants-Appellees.

No. 89-35512.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Nov. 5, 1990.* Decided Dec. 5, 1990.

Before SCHROEDER, WIGGINS and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Norman Dehnhoff, a Washington state inmate, appeals from the district court's dismissal with prejudice of his civil rights action, arguing that the court erred by ruling that the Washington State Penitentiary's policy prohibiting inmates from photocopying reported cases and statutes did not constitute a denial of his right of access to the courts. Dehnhoff grounds his argument on Washington's Public Records Disclosure Act ("PRDA"), Wash.Rev.Code Secs. 42.17.250-42.17.340, which requires all Washington state agencies to publish or otherwise make available for copying all but certain specifically excepted records.

Dehnhoff misapprehends the nature of the PRDA. That statute requires all state agencies to publish in the Washington Administrative Code, and all local agencies to display and make available for copying, records concerning their respective organizational structures, general operating procedures, procedural and substantive rules, and any amendments thereto. Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 42.17.250(1) (a)-(e). A careful examination of both the PRDA and those reported decisions which have construed it both before and after its 1987 revision make clear that the statute was intended to apply only to requests for disclosure of a particular agency's own records. See, e.g., Progressive Animal Welfare Soc. v. University of Wash., 114 Wash. 2d 677, 679-81, 790 P.2d 604, 604-05 (1990) (recovery of attorney's fees for successful disclosure of University's animal research project review forms); Spokane Police Guild v. Washington State Liquor Control Bd., 112 Wash. 2d 30, 31-32, 769 P.2d 283, 283-84 (1989) (liquor board investigative report); Nast v. Michels, 107 Wash. 2d 300, 303, 730 P.2d 54, 56 (1986) (court case files); Cowles Pub. Co. v. Murphy, 96 Wash. 2d 584, 586, 637 P.2d 966, 967 (1981) (judicial records involving issuance of search warrants).

Dehnhoff has not asked the Washington State Department of Corrections to publish or otherwise make available for copying the Department's own records. See Wash.Admin.Code Sec. 137-08-010 ("The purpose of this chapter shall be to ensure compliance by the department of corrections with the provisions of the Public Records Disclosure Act"). Moreover, neither the Department nor the Washington State Prison are alleged to have denied him access to the published "records" involved, viz., volumes of case reporters and statutes. Accordingly, no state-created interest is implicated, and no federally protected right is therefore involved.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for submission on the record and briefs and without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a) and Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3